Hopping on the AI train, Brave is incorporating its own AI-powered search function to its web browser called Summarizer – similar to what Microsoft recently did to Bing.
The new feature “provides concise and to-the-point answers at the top of Brave Search results”. For example, if you want to learn about the chemical spill in East Palestine, Ohio, Summarizer will create a one paragraph summary of the event alongside some sources for you to read. Unlike Microsoft which only uses ChatGPT for Bing's chatbot, Summarizer uses three in-house large language models, LLMs for short, based on retrained versions of the BART and DeBERTa AI models to create the search-results snippets.
To simplify the technology behind them, BART and DeBERTa are generative writing AIs like ChatGPT that have been specially trained to take into account word positioning as well as context so the text output reads well. What Brave did is take those models and retrain them using its own search result data to develop Summarizer.
Summarizer’s training regiment is a three-step process, according to the announcement. First, Brave taught the LLMs to prioritize answering the question being asked. Then, the company utilized “zero-shot classifiers” to categorize results so the given information is relevant. The final step helps the models rewrite the snippet so it’s more coherent. The result is an accurate answer written succinctly with multiple sources attached.
Be aware the feature is still in the early stages. Brave states Summarizer only utilizes about 17 percent of search queries to formulate an answer, but there are plans to scale that number even higher for better paragraphs. Its accuracy needs some work, too. The company admits Summarizer may produce what it calls “hallucinations” which are unrelated snippets mixed in with results. Plus there's the possibility of the feature throwing in some “false or offensive text” into an answer.
Summarizer is currently available to all Brave Search users on desktop and mobile with the exception of the Brave Search Goggles. It’s disabled there. You can turn it off anytime you want by going into the browser’s settings menu. The company is also asking users to give some feedback on how it can improve the tool.
We tried out Summarizer ourselves, and as cool as it is, it does need some work. Not all search results will give you a snippet as it depends on what you ask, as well as which news topics are making the rounds. The East Palestine, Ohio chemical spill, for example, is currently a hot button issue so you get Summarizer working just fine there. However when we asked about the recent cold snap in Los Angeles and what’s going on with certain video game developers, we either got no summary or outdated information. But the latter did come with sources so it was at least accurate. Still better than having ChatGPT throw a temper tantrum or lie to your face.
Be sure to check out TechRadar’s list of the best AI writer for 2023 if you’re interested in learning what AI creativity can do for you.
Built with the same drag-and-drop feature, Web.com’s ecommerce website builder now gives sellers a single location where they can manage all the day-to-day tasks that go with running an online business.
The new product comes with a marketplace manager and links to social media platforms allowing users to reach customers on Instagram, Facebook and other social sites.
Web.com SMB ecommerce builder
Available now, the ecommerce platform offers 25, 50 and unlimited eShop pages, each with unlimited email accounts.
Web.com’s Marketplace manager also allows online sellers to reach more customers through popular marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay and Etsy. Online sellers can now list products and update existing product listings from inside the platform without having to log into separate services.
The essential ecommerce plan for small businesses includes one hour free design support, a free domain and private registration for $ 13.95 per month. Its ecommerce premium plan starts at $ 19.95 per month and includes automated sales tax, multi-currency, and restock/purchase orders.
“For a small business looking to launch an online store, the process can be overwhelming with several moving pieces. Web.com’s new solutions make it easy to get an online store up and running in one place quickly so small businesses can start taking orders from customers,” said Ed Jay, President of Newfold Digital, parent company of Web.com.
“Online sellers can quickly launch with Web.com’s intuitive drag-and-drop builder and easily list products from anywhere. Once live, online sellers can leverage the platform’s powerful integrations like the online marketplace manager to reach more customers.”
Through the ecommerce platform, Web.com is also offering 24/7 automated inventory sync technology to show where customers sell. The plan also comes with the assistance from Web.com’s team to help new ecommerce sellers launch their online presence.
“Our new eCommerce platform is backed by an expert support team that is available for customer questions via chat, phone, and email support,” added Jay. “Included in every package is a one-hour professional design consultation, so customers can launch with confidence.”
The secure email provider ProtonMail has announced that SimpleLogin has joined Proton in an effort to make it easier for its users to generate email aliases.
According to a new blog post from Proton founder and CEO Andy Yen, the firm has been following SimpleLogin closely for some time now as the company’s users leverage its service to prevent their email addresses from being leaked to spammers.
For those unfamiliar, SimpleLogin is a browser extension, web app and mobile app that provides users with anonymous email addresses whenever they sign up for a new online service. As its name suggests, the company offers a simple way to create a login by generating an email alias so that users don’t need to disclose their real email address.
If an online service you use gets hacked, frequently sends you spam or sells your email address to advertisers, you can disable that email alias in order to safeguard your inbox. This is why SimpleLogin is a complementary service to ProtonMail as it prevents malicious actors from exploiting your real email address while ProtonMail protects your sensitive emails and other personal data using encryption.
ProtonMail and SimpleLogin
Now that SimpleLogin has joined Proton, in the coming months the company plans to better integrate its functionality into ProtonMail so that its users will be able to hide their email addresses using the service.
If you already use SimpleLogin with ProtonMail though, things will continue to work the same as before. Going forward, SimpleLogin will continue working as a separate service and its team will continue building new features and adding functionality but now with the benefit of Proton’s infrastructure and security engineering capabilities.
Proton itself began as a crowdfunded project and as former scientists, its creators strongly believe in peer review and transparency. In the privacy space, SimpleLogin is one of the few organizations whose values align with those of Proton’s which is why the two companies joining forces is a natural fit.
We’ll likely hear more about how ProtonMail users can utilize SimpleLogin to create their own email aliases directly from the service once Proton adds its technology to its own.
Microsoft Edge’s mini-game which can be played as a diversion when the browser can’t get online has been given a snowy twist for winter, with the traditional ‘surf game’ being changed into a skiing challenge that’s a blast of nostalgia (we’ll come back to its origins later).
If you aren’t familiar with the surf game, it’s basically Edge’s equivalent of the dinosaur game in Chrome – a mini-game for the browser which you can play when your internet is offline (or when you’re bored at any time, for that matter).
Normally, the Edge game allows you to use the keyboard (or mouse, touchscreen, or controller) to guide a surfer down the screen, avoiding obstacles, hitting jumps, and sometimes being pursued by a deadly monster – the kraken.
In the new skiing version for Edge 96, spotted by German tech site Deskmodder, the ocean is replaced by a snowy slope, and the kraken becomes a yeti (aka the abominable snowman).
Get your winter clothes on and hit the slopes with a limited-time skiing theme for the surf game in Microsoft Edge 96! Can you avoid the yeti while taking a trip down memory lane?🎿 Type edge://surf/ into Microsoft Edge to play! pic.twitter.com/EJObcaTSGyNovember 23, 2021
Otherwise, it remains essentially the same, offering a few different modes of play (endless, time trial, and zigzag which is a slalom) and being more fleshed out than Chrome Dino (which is a pure side-scroller with the only control being space to jump).
If you want to play, simply open Edge and type in the following in the address bar:
Analysis: SkiFree returns after 30 years
The surf game for Edge came out in May 2020 (with build 83) and is based on Microsoft’s aged classic SkiFree game that was released way back in 1991. So in actual fact, this new winter-inspired version is a return to the original format of a skiing game.
It’s a fun distraction, for sure, and a more interesting game than Chrome Dino – plus also it’s less prone to giving us slight motion sickness, which the dinosaur game seems to do when it starts to speed up with ridiculously fast scrolling.
Those keen to find more of these kinds of efforts to play should check out our roundup of the best free browser games.
Jim Szafranski never really wanted to become a CEO; it was something that seemed to happen to him, rather than something he deliberately made happen. But as it turns out, he has a knack for it.
Szafranski took over at visual communications company Prezi roughly eighteen months ago to preside over a change of direction, replacing founder Peter Arvai. Previously, the firm had specialized in design and presentation software, but has now turned its attention to video presentations.
Prezi had already begun to lay the foundations for this shift before the pandemic, but remote working saw demand skyrocket for a service that could help people create and deliver professional virtual presentations. The company put its foot on the gas and Prezi Video is now its flagship product.
As one of the main architects of the Prezi Video project, and as someone who had worked with the video conferencing titans (such as Microsoft and Google) in a previous life, Szafranski found himself next in line for the throne.
The right person for the job
Although he has now acclimatized to the level and breadth of responsibility that falls on the shoulders of a chief executive, Szafranski told TechRadar Pro he sometimes found himself doubting his suitability for the role.
While he had always been a student of both business and technology, and had racked up many years of experience at an executive level, he was to some extent blindsided by the opportunity when it presented itself.
“I love to learn, so I always tried to put myself in a position where I could learn from my environment and the people around me. And I kind of let the growth take care of itself,” he explained.
“But when I joined Prezi, the plan wasn’t that I would someday take over from Peter [Arvai] – that wasn’t even a discussion. The focus was on scaling the business and building out functions like sales and marketing.”
After some consideration, Szafranski agreed to take on the post, giving himself and Arvai three months to put the necessary measures in place. The best piece of advice Szafranski received during this time, he says, was simply to be himself, and not to emulate the archetypal CEO of the movies.
“Obviously, the board of directors and previous CEO thought about this carefully and chose to elect me for the role. This advice was an important reminder to approach situations in the same way I have always done; to do what felt natural.”
Mercifully, stepping into the CEO role at Prezi has not required Szafranski to tear it all up and start again, because he had inherited the foundations of a healthy business. His task is only to steer in a slightly different direction.
Virtual presentations, but different
Szafranski is often quizzed about what makes Prezi Video different from regular virtual presentation services. With words alone, this question can be a little difficult to answer, but the difference becomes immediately apparent when you see the product in action.
Prezi Video sits like a veneer on top of video conferencing services (Zoom, Teams, Meet etc.), adding a layer of gloss and interactivity that makes presentations much more attractive to the eye.
Unlike with traditional screen-sharing, which conceals the presenter’s video feed, users can bring content onto the screen alongside them in the style of a news anchor. In turn, the presenter is able to see more of the other attendees, which is supposed to help them read the room in the same way they might in-person.
Prezi Video also allows users to interact with on-screen content in real-time, which makes presentations feel slick and polished. There’s no more “next slide, please”; the presenter becomes more like a conductor.
According to Szafranksi, these attributes go a long way to solving the various issues employees have encountered since the transition to remote working, from video conferencing fatigue to a feeling of disconnect with coworkers.
“Ultimately, Prezi Video is about creating a greater level of engagement,” he told us. “People are talking a lot about Zoom fatigue at the moment, but will still log off in the evening to watch a couple of hours of Netflix. Prezi brings TV-like engagement into your business.”
Szafranski also sees products like Prezi Video playing a fundamental role as businesses emerge from the pandemic, by creating a stronger feeling of connection between meeting attendees spread across multiple locations.
“The office was the great productivity hack, because it forced everyone into the same space at the same time. But we’re not going back to that,” he said.
“What has permanently changed is that there will be somebody outside the room at all times, and we’re all going to have to figure out how to hold effective meetings under these conditions.”
Further down the line, Szafranksi envisions Prezi moving into areas like virtual reality, which could open up a new realm of opportunity for interactivity, as well as bringing everyone into the same arena once again.
Looking to the future
As the world climbs out from underneath the pandemic, which brought about a period of extreme and unexpected growth for Prezi, Szafranski is thinking closely about how he can carry momentum forward.
His first step, he explained, has been to surround himself with an executive team capable of putting his vision into action. For example, his new CTO is an expert in content ingestion, having cut his teeth at image library Shutterstock, and Szafranski recently brought onboard a new SVP for Product Management to explore opportunities in immersive video and 3D.
These appointments were designed to prepare the company for a shift in gear. In addition to targeting SMBs and design departments, Szafranski says the goal is now to take Prezi organization-wide at some of the largest companies on the planet.
However, an important question hangs over these ambitions: why don’t the video conferencing giants, with all their money and resources, go out and develop identical functionality? The early warning signs are there; Microsoft recently rolled out a new reporter mode for Teams that allows users to appear in front of shared content.
But Szafranksi says copying Prezi is far more difficult than it might seem. He describes the company’s intellectual property as much more like a game engine (such as Unity) than a piece of software.
“What Prezi does that’s special is serve up content in very spacial ways, which creates much more interactive and layered experiences. And these qualities are certainly not trivial to recreate.”
The alternative for the video conferencing giants, of course, would be an acquisition. Asked whether he thought Microsoft or Zoom might swoop in for Prezi, Szafranski played it cool. It would be his responsibility to field all such offers, he told us, but for now his efforts are focused wholly on taking Prezi in the right direction.